Union members fearful over county council job losses

MEMBERS of UNISON at Suffolk County Council have been contacting their union representatives in increasing numbers since this week’s revelations about job losses at the authority.

A spokeswoman from UNISON Suffolk County Branch said: “Your exposure of the county council plans to carve up and offload vital services has sent shock waves across the county.

“UNISON welcomes the chance to discuss what this really means for the many thousands of people who use the services and dedicated staff who deliver them.

“The danger is now that we will see our valued local services here in Suffolk reduced to an end-of-season sale with every provider, from huge multinationals to tiny community groups, bidding for business in an unseemly scramble to get there first.”

Union representatives had been concerned about the future of jobs at the council for several months – but had found it difficult to explain to their members because it was not clear how individual services would be affect.

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The spokeswoman said: “This is particularly worrying news for everyone who lives in the county – the people who use local services and the people who provide them.

“If you ask local people what they want and they would tell you to stop wasting money and put it back into the front line to support staff in delivering services.

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“The reality of this carve up is something very different to theory being pushed from senior managers and politicians about an ‘enabling’ council.

“The reality is that this is a wholesale break up of services and the vital safety net that we need, now more than ever, to protect the young, the old and the vulnerable in our society here in Suffolk.

“This is one big experiment undertaken by the county council with no real idea of what will happen to local communities or staff who are the guinea pigs in this first wave.

“We’ve seen today how the public sector squeeze can effect private companies too, like Connaught, and no thought has gone into how Suffolk County Council will protect people and services if this risky experiment fails.

“Divestment is privatisation of local services by another name, and these words and the plans behind them are just a cover for hard and swingeing cuts that will cut to the core of our communities, workers and vulnerable people.”

A spokeswoman for the county council emphasised that the proposals to turn it into an “enabling authority” were still being discussed.

She said: “The council is looking at a number of options of how services can be delivered most efficiently.

“Service changes would take place over a number of years – and it is too early to say how many services will be changed in this way.”

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